Interview: Tess Fowler
Tess Fowler's iCal must be packed as hell.
Actor, artist and half of Adelaide folk/soul duo Sitara (who recently featured a number of BNKR labels in their visual album Alchemy), she's now delving into the world of cabaret, performing her new show Revelations of An Angry Beast at SA's Cabaret Fringe Festival.
Blending spoken word poetry with theatrical storytelling and song, Revelations of An Angry Beast is a raw and honest reflection of Tess' travel through India, Asia, Europe and beyond, delving into her spirituality, self-love and insecurities.
We caught up with Tess before her show kicks off tonight.
BNKR: Tell us about how Revelations of an Angry Beast came to be.
Tess: It started when I was making a website for some mediation sessions I wanted to host. I actually started writing about the beginning of my ‘spiritual’ journey and how it all came to be, and it started pouring out and turned into more of a monologue type piece of writing.
How long was the process from inception to locking in your Cabaret Fringe Festival performance?
It’s been a fairly long process - it was two years ago when that script first started to almost write itself...then very recently I decided to do a soulful cabaret and eventually it became clear I should just combine the two! Then I just forced myself to get the Cabaret Fringe deadline, secure a venue and then I fortunately received a Helpmann Academy grant. So it’s been a whirlwind of talking about things until they actually happen and now i’m left thinking ‘my god its actually happening now!’
What can audiences expect from the show?
Some poetry and spoken word, a lot of very honest stories about failed attempts at finding external validation around me, and some stunning musical numbers - I’m supported by the immensely talented Logan Watt and Frank Giles on piano and violin.
You’ve described the show as “cabaret to catharsis” – has performing always been a therapeutic process for you?
Definitely - as a multi-disciplinary artist I’ve always been in this area because of that process of expression and releasing what’s often kept bottled up inside ourselves.
You’re a musician, artist, actor and henna tattooist – what’s next on the list for you to try?
Ha! The henna I’d definitely say is just a hobby - despite me currently curbing my temptation for a third actual tattoo. I think I’m going to try some relaxation next - it’s been a while since I’ve done that! But seriously I’m so eager to jump back into Sitara and get recording and sharing our latest release Alchemy, the visual album.
As half of Sitara, you’ve played WOMADelaide and supported Macy Gray on tour – how does that experience as part of a band compare to your solo show?
Performing with Erin is a very safe space. There’s much less doubt about the quality and integrity of our work and having her on stage is the biggest comfort. So that makes this a lot harder, but at the same time, there’s a sort of freedom and liberation in doing something solo which also feels great to explore.
Finally, what’s on the cards for 2017?
I’ll continue to pursue music with Sitara - we have a couple of gigs here and I’m stoked to be playing at and attending Power Shift in Melbourne - a conference held by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition which is focusing on stopping the Adani coal mine from going ahead. Hopefully some more acting jobs might land but for now I’m so ready to take a few weeks - at least - to really let my body come down from the adrenaline and sheer panic of all this and then take it one step at a time!
Tess Fowler is performing Revelations Of An Angry Beast from 21-24 June at The Bakehouse Theatre, as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival. Tickets here.
Words: Lucy Ahern